Rhodes & the Aegean air
I could never have thought that in October 2021 we would still be so restricted by the Covid-19 pandemic.
I live to travel and it really has felt isolating not to be able to plan international travel, visit family and explore the wonders of the world in the same way I have in the past. I was due to be returning to Turkey with friends but has it remained on the ‘Red List’ by the UK government, we had to change plans last minute to go to Greece which is on the ‘Amber List’ – this means, for those of us who are double vaccinated, we could travel by showing the newly issued ‘Covid Passport’ and by pre-booking a Covid PCR test for Day 2 on our return to the UK. So as Jimmy Dean says:
“I can’t change the direction of the wind, but I can adjust my sails to always reach my destination.”
Happy to do so, in order to get some of that Aegean air and sunshine on my skin.
By far the largest and historically the most important of the Dodecanese islands, Rhodes (ro-dos) abounds in beaches, wooded valleys and ancient history. We have our own private villa with pool and have zero plans, which is just what we need after a year of lockdowns and suffocating restrictions.
Our first 5 days were spent laying around the pool, eating Greek Salad for lunch everyday, and glamming up to head out to dinner each evening – we unexpectedly decided to try every Rose on the island.
Our favourite become, A-Muse which is a beautiful salmon colour, light, fruity, smooth, lively and elegant. It is a blend of 90% Sauvignon Blanc and 10% of Mouhtaro red grapes, an indigenous variety of the Valley of the Muses, the only area of production of this type of grape in the world.
Others that followed closely were:
Whispering Angel: One that came with us from the airport, Whispering Angel is today’s worldwide reference for Provence rosé. Made from Grenache, Cinsault and Rolle (Vermentino), its pale color is pleasing to the eye and draws one in. The rewarding taste profile is full and lush while being bone dry with a smooth finish.
Crazy Birds: Chosen for it’s name and distinguished by its fresh rich flavour with a pleasant acidity, balanced sweetness and freshness and long fruity aftertaste. From vineyards in Northern Peloponnese, at Asprokampos village, in Stymfalia plateau, located at 700m of altitude, in deep, clayey, alkaline soils, this pleasant rosé is made from Agiorgitiko, a captivating grape variety that caresses the senses with elegance, freshness and intensity of aromas and flavours.
The Joy of Life: Another one selected for the name, it is a wine dedicated to the pleasure of the senses. Smooth and delicate with impressive aroma. Semi-dry and part of ‘The Ladies Collection’ by Nemea Winery.
I’m also happy to report that we ate seafood every SINGLE day, and wow, nothing quite matches Greek seabass.
Prawn Saganaki was a dish that became a firm favourite and we also sampled at several restaurants throughout the week. Prawns are cooked in a rich, chilli-laced tomato sauce, topped with creamy feta and olive oil and left to bake in the oven. Aspri Avni Restaurant deserves a shout out here. They had by far the best Saganaki, grilled fish and were the ones that introduced us to A-Muse Rose – a wonderful p
We managed half a day of ‘culture’ when we visited the atmospheric Old Town of Rhodes. It is a maze of cobbled streets that evokes a distant memory of what it must have been like during the Byzantine Empire. We strolled though here, browsing the shops and soaking up the history. The Byzantine period lasted on and off for almost 1,000 years. During this time, Rhodes was an important Byzantine trading port and a crossroads for ships sailing between Constantinople and Alexandria.
With over 300 days of sunshine each year, it’s little wonder Rhodes is known as the Sunshine Isle. And perhaps even more lucky is the girls I was travelling with are always up for a bit of adventure at sea so we booked a sailing trip.
We were picked up from our Villa and drove down to Mandraki Harbor to set sail. We motored out of the marina which is absolutely stunning and once cleared, those sails were up and we were flying.
Is there anything better than wild hair, glorious sunshine and salt air?
We sailed along the picturesque coastline, past rocky cliffs, and tiny coves. It’s a brilliant way to see the island from a different perspective.
We stopped at some of the island’s most delightful spots, including Kallithea, famed for its rocky shoreline and mineral springs, and Anthony Quinn Bay, renowned for its lush vegetation and emerald waters.
At each stop, we anchored for a while. Although we were so busy having our own personal photoshoot that we missed the first opportunity to slip into the silky, crystal-clear sea to swim.
Don’t worry, my inner mermaid came out by the next stop – swimming off the back of a sailboat, anchored in a beautiful bay has to be the best way to experience the ocean. We were kept hydrated and well-fed throughout the day and